News Release
Date: February 21, 2012
Contact: Rich Isaacson
Number: (313) 234-4310

Final Defendant In 3,000 Pound Kentucky
Marijuana Conspiracy Pleads Guilty

In this DEA case six Mexicans and one Kentuckian pled guilty--$1.8 million in drug proceeds also seized

February 21 - (Lexington, KY) Narcisco Munguia Pineda, 41, of Jalisco, Mexico, pled guilty today to conspiring with six other men to distribute over 1,000 kilograms of marijuana.

Previously, Ismael Rodriguez Garcia, 37, Julio Cesar Robles, 33, Gilberto Rodriguez Hernandez, 32, Raul Rodriguez Rojas, 31, Luis Osvaldo Rodriguez Rojas, 38, each of Mexico, and Joaquin Diaz Verdin, 19, of Lexington, Kentucky, pled guilty for their roles in the conspiracy. They were indicted by a federal grand jury in 2011.

During the course of his guilty plea, Munguia Pineda admitted that on October 4, 2011, he was stopped in Lexington, Kentucky, after he was seen leaving a residence on Ice House Way. A search of his vehicle by law enforcement led to the discovery of 300 pounds of marijuana in the trunk. Law enforcement obtained a search warrant for the Ice House Way residence, where they discovered Ismael Rodriguez Garcia trying to leave the residence. Upon executing the search warrant, law enforcement discovered over 3,000 pounds of marijuana in the house, along with two firearms.

At the same time as the discovery of the marijuana in Lexington, law enforcement was performing surveillance at a residence at Starting Gate Point in Georgetown, Kentucky. During his guilty plea, Joaquin Diaz Verdin admitted that on October 4, 2011, he, Raul Rodriguez Rojas, and Luis Osvaldo Rodriguez Rojas loaded approximately 300 pounds of marijuana into the trunk of his car at the Starting Gate Point residence. After leaving the residence at Starting Gate Point, Diaz Verdin was pulled over by law enforcement and caught with the marijuana.

Additionally, during his guilty plea, Gilberto Rodriguez Hernandez admitted that he was driving a vehicle, with Julio Robles as a passenger that was loaded with over $1,800,000.00. The money was proceeds of drug trafficking. Prior to the traffic stop, law enforcement had seen Rodriguez Hernandez leave the Starting Gate Point residence.

Robert L. Corso, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Kerry B. Harvey, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, jointly made the announcement today after Munguia Pineda entered his guilty plea.

The investigation was spearheaded by the DEA, with assistance from the Lexington Metro Police Department, Georgetown Police Department, Versailles Police Department, Richmond Police Department, Kentucky State Police, Frankfort Police Department, Nicholasville Police Department, Winchester Police Department, Garrard County Sheriff’s Office, Kentucky Office of Attorney General, and Scott County Sheriff’s Office. The United States was represented in the case by Assistant United States Attorney Robert M. Duncan, Jr.

Munguia Pineda and the other men are currently scheduled to appear for sentencing before United States District Court Senior Judge Joseph M. Hood in Lexington in May 2012. Munguia Pineda, Rodriguez Garcia, and Robles each face a minimum prison sentence of 10 years, up to life imprisonment. Gilberto Rodriguez Hernandez, Raul Rodriguez Rojas, Luis Osvaldo Rodriguez Rojas, and Joaquin Diaz Verdin each face a minimum prison sentence of 5 years, up to 40 years imprisonment. Any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the United States Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of sentences.

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